Macbeth’s Uncontrolled Ambition

Ambition is a factor that can make individuals successful, while at the same time it can ruin people’s reputation. With the help of ambitions, individuals can end up achieving something great in their lives. However, uncontrolled ambition can also result in negative attitude and desires in people. Based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the theme of uncontrolled ambition is perfectly highlighted. Macbeth is considered to have an uncontrolled ambition since he had an obsessive behavior towards other people. Obviously, Ross’ assertion that Thriftless ambition, that wilt ravin up; Thine own life’s means!” happens as it haunts Macbeth’s life completely (Shakespeare n.p.). Moreover, his uncontrolled ambition was able to lead him to his destruction. Macbeth’s uncontrolled ambition leads him to misuse his power, which in the end could have resulted in his greatness.

In ‘The tragedy of Macbeth,’ Shakespeare conveys how Macbeth’s uncontrolled ambition makes him a corrupt who is thirsty for more power. His ambition made him commit bad things that destroyed everything in his life. Macbeth’s uncontrolled ambition made him yearn for more power that made him commit immoral actions. His quest for power also ended up interfering with his judgment resulting in self-centeredness and caring less about his wife, Lady Macbeth.    

Macbeth used to be a servant who was very loyal and dedicated to his work. However, things changed when he met three witches who had prophesied how he would become the king. From his uncontrolled ambitions, Macbeth ended up killing many people since he had no control over his actions. Act 1 shows how Macbeth’s uncontrolled ambitions started taking the best part of him when the witches prophesied his greatness. Macbeth’s quote, “If chance will have me, king, why, chance may crown me/ without my stir,” shows how he was eager to become the king since it was from the witches prophecy (Shakespeare n.p.). In other words, he was controlled by his judgment, which directed him to his final quest of wanting to become the king.

In contrast, his wife, Lady Macbeth also played a major role in controlling Macbeth’s decision. In Act 1, Macbeth’s ambitions are displayed by how his wife speaks about him. Lady Macbeth stated that ‘thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without/ the illness should attend it.’ (Shakespeare n.p.). The circumstances show how Macbeth is too full of himself since his ambitions control him. In the end, Lady Macbeth ended up advising Macbeth that he should first kill Duncan who was the current King for him to become a powerful one.

Lady Macbeth’s prediction about Macbeth also shows how her husband’s ambition are deemed evil since he was focused on becoming the king. In other words, Macbeth was ready to commit any immoral acts or crimes to anybody who would opt to stand on his way to becoming the king (Nafi and Jamal 38). The statement ‘I have no spur/ to prick the sides of my intent, but only valuating ambition which oerleaps itself/and falls on the other,’ shows the evil lurking in Macbeth and his ambitions (Shakespeare n.p.).

In Act 1 Scene 4, Ross also considers that ambitions can destroy a person’s life. ‘To catch the nearest way: thou wouldst be great; Art not without ambition, but without; The illness should attend it” explains how the two sons were controlled by ambition, which was later depicted in the play (Shakespeare n.p.). At the end of Macbeth play, Macbeth ended up losing his life for his selfish and controlling ambitions. Uncontrolled ambitions can end up causing massive destruction since it controls one’s decisions and actions. In this case, Macbeth had ambitions of becoming the king, but his sinful atrocities ended up destroying him.

Macbeth’s obsessive and uncontrolled ambitions result in him into committing terrible actions that do not gain him anything at the end. Through his uncontrolled ambitions, Macbeth became boastful and frantic resulting in the ruined marriage. His quest for power made him have no feelings and respect towards Lady Macbeth (Nafi and Jamal 39). In essence, he was obsessed with how to get his enemies as he thought they were after his success. His rise to power also made him lose trust on other people since he thought that they were not important.

Macbeth also states that he cannot sleep since he faced many nightmares of people plotting against him. The statement ‘better be with the dead, whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace from this,’ displays how Macbeth was not able to sleep as he was always feel haunted by his enemies, who were out to destroy him (Shakespeare n.p.). Moreover, he was full of many thoughts of people plotting against him, which made him have no time for his wife. At last, he ended up losing his affection towards his wife since there was no bond between them. This was because most of his time was spent on how to destroy his enemies, rather on his wife.

Overall, Shakespeare’s Macbeth tries to parade how uncontrolled ambitions can lead to people’s destruction. Just like Macbeth, he was controlled by his ambitions, which ended up controlling his actions, which resulted in him committing immoral acts. Ambitions can have its corrupting power that ends up changing a person’s decisión into committing negative things that end up destroying everything. In the play, Macbeth was controlled by the obsessive ambitions that made him kill the king while seeking to be the heir as prophesied by the three witches.

Work Cited

Nafi, Dr, and Jamal Subhi. “The Role of Superstition in Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Shakespeare’s Macbeth: A Comparative Study.” Canadian Center of Science and Education, vol. 6, no. 1, 2016, pp. 37-46. DOI:

Shakespeare. The Tragedy of Macbeth: Entire play. n.d. Accessed Mar. 6, 2017

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